The Challenge

Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city but years of underfunding combined with a burgeoning population means that its public transport infrastructure is not fit for purpose. Perhaps more importantly, the position of the city at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains and the high levels of private car use means that air quality is dangerously poor and a public health crisis is threatened.

A strategic transport plan had already identified the benefits of providing an LRT network in the city to complement the existing single Metro line, but it was recognised that this could only be a partial solution, and that if private car usage was to be curtailed then significant improvements to the bus network would be required, including – but not limited to –plans for a small BRT network.

A masterplan was required that would offer improvements to the bus network that were closely integrated with the Metro, LRT and BRT systems which had, to date, always been in competition with each other in a loosely regulated and somewhat buccaneering city-wide transport environment.

SYSTRA's Role

SYSTRA collected baseline data about existing public transport ridership, supplementing observations undertaken by the city council with on-street and in-vehicle counts of our own. These were then summarised and interrogated to allow us to update the existing transport model of Almaty which had been prepared for the BRT Feasibility Study.

We presented these findings to Almaty’s transport department, city planners and bus operators at an initial fact-finding workshop, and prepared an initial set of design concepts following feedback.

The final proposals, fine tuned through a series of workshops and tested on the city’s transport model, included a swathe of supporting measures including redistribution of road space from parking to bus priority, and investment in information and ticketing. The final report was presented to Almaty’s Mayor and approved for immediate implementation..